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T-Shirt Design & Logo Placement Guide

T-Shirt Design & Logo Placement Guide

Nicole Rollender |

Your t-shirt or hoodie decoration quality is really important—but so is where you place it on a garment. In fact, your placement choice might be downright unfortunate for the wearer. For example, if you place a word right along a woman’s bust line, she’ll be getting a lot of unwanted glances as people read the message. Similarly, if you place a design too low on a t-shirt, you (or your wearer) will get a lot of glances at their stomach. 

Since we want your decorated t-shirts, hoodies and other garments to look as great as your designs, we put together the top four questions we hear most often.Here, we cover the most common questions our customers ask us about where they should position their designs on blank t-shirtsbulk sweatshirts, and other garments.

Q. What Do I Need to Keep in Mind About Creating a T-Shirt Design?

This is a great question to start! If you’re designing your own t-shirt transfers or prints, this answer is for you. Even if your placement is perfect, if your design composition is off, the t-shirt won’t look great. When you’re creating a design with multiple elements (like the main text, subtext, a main image and so on), you need to arrange your elements according to basic spacing guidelines.

We’ve seen some newbie t-shirt designers space out their design’s elements too much or place them too close together. You also want to achieve balance in your design, so don’t place too much on the right or left side, skewing the symmetry.

Before you decorate or print any t-shirts, share your design with other people, preferably in your target audience. That way, you can be sure the design looks as good to them as it does to you on screen or on the t-shirts.

Q. What Are the Most Common Design Placements on T-Shirts and Hoodies?

Another great question! Our answer is a little longer, because we want to make sure you know all of your t-shirt, polo shirt and hoodie design placement options:

Left chest: If you’re working on a uniform or event shirt, you’ll often be asked to place a logo or small design on the left chest. A left-chest design usually measures 3” to 4” inches wide. Since this is a small logo or artwork, you’ll want to keep details to a minimum, so your design isn’t cramped, blurry or hard to read. This is considered a “classic” or “traditional” placement.

Right chest: While the right chest isn’t standard, some people prefer to do things a little differently. Often, you’ll place a logo or design on the right chest if there’s a pocket on the left chest. If you’re placing a logo on the left chest, you might add another element, like a name or word, on the right chest.

Center chest: Also considered a classic placement, a medium to larger center chest design will be fully visible on the t-shirt, even if someone’s wearing an open jacket or hoodie.

Full front: These are probably the most common and popular consumer t-shirt placements. These designs can measure up to 12 inches wide by 14 inches high. Again, this comes down to aesthetics and how you’re decorating the shirt to determine how big is big enough.

Expanded full front: This is the oversized older sibling of the full-front design. Some people create t-shirt designs up to 13 inches wide by 16 inches high. Of course, your garment types and sizes will dictate how large your design can be. Remember, if you want to put the same design on adult t-shirts for men and youth t-shirts for boys, you’ll need to adjust the design composition and size. Of course, oversized full front designs don’t work as well on other garment types, like tank tops or V-neck t-shirts.

Sleeves: Lots of forward-thinking t-shirt designers and shop owners don’t let the sleeve go to waste. You can decorate a short- or long-sleeve garment. While your placement and artwork size may differ depending on your design, the usual design size is 3 inches wide.

Collar yoke or upper back: This placement has become pretty popular and standard. Often used for corporate, team or band logos, this is a smaller artwork, usually about 2 inches wide to 3 inches wide. We recommend placing the artwork about 1 inch from the collar edge. You’ll also see these small designs on the backs of racerback tank tops.

Upper back: Most often, with back placements, you’ll most often see a word, hashtag or phrase (like “Event Staff”) across the shoulder blades, about 12 inches wide. 

Q. What are Some Guidelines for Placing Designs on a T-Shirt, Sweatshirt or Hoodie? What is Standard Placement?

While you’ll need to determine final placement on the particular garment you’re using, taking into consideration the garment size and design size, we can share some industry standard guidelines for general placements. 

Polo shirts left or right chest: About 7.5” to 9” from the left seam of the shoulder and 4” to 6” from the center. Keep the design in line with where the collar meets the shoulder’s seam.

T-shirts: About 7.5” to 9” from the left seam of the shoulder, and 4” to 6” from the center.

Sweatshirts: Place the top of the design 3” to 3.5” from the bottom of the neck's edge.

Jacket Left Chest: The best placement is 3.5” to 4” from the center edge, and 6” to 8” from the left shoulder seam.

Jacket back: Measure 6” to 9” from the collar seam to determine where the center of the design should land.

Sports jersey: On a team sports shirt, the top of your design should hit 2” or 3” from the bottom of the neck’s edging.

Q. How Do I Center a Design on a T-Shirt?

This is one of the questions we hear most often, since center front placement on a t-shirt is one of the most popular locations. You can purchase a t-shirt ruler guide kit to make this process easier. However, here’s one way to center a heat press or iron-on design on your t-shirt:

  • Fold the shirt vertically in half down the center. Use two or three straight pins to mark the center along that vertical line.
  • Then find the center of your transfer design and lightly fold it in half to locate the center, but don’t crease it. Use another straight pin to mark the center.
  • Then, find the neckline on the front of your t-shirt. Place your design three horizontal fingers’ width beneath the neckline. Then, position your heat press center in the center using your straight pin guides.

Pro Tip:
Besides the unfortunate placement of a design right across the bust line, another issue we often see is the “belly print,” where the design is placed way too low. This unflattering position also draws the eye to the stomach, and also can distort the image. That’s why perfect, measured-out placement is key.

The Bottom Line

Where you place your design can make or break a t-shirt. Following the advice above will help make your next project a huge success, with less stress. And don’t forget to check out Threadsy for high-quality blank t-shirts and accessories. We’re proud to take the hassle out of wholesale shirts and would love to help you with your next creation.